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This study investigated the culture specificity of Taijin-Kyofusho (TK) offensive type by examining whether symptoms of the disorder covary with social phobia and determining the proportion of those who meet criteria for a diagnosis of TK offensive type among Australian socially phobic individuals. The study included a total of 94 participants who met the DSM-IV criteria for social phobia and 39 normal controls who did not meet criteria for any mental disorder. All participants were born in Western countries and resided in Australia. Results showed that levels of offensive worry were significantly elevated in socially phobic individuals and decreased after treatment of their social phobia, pointing to a close relationship between symptoms of TK offensive type and social anxiety. Correlational analysis indicated that TK offensive type and social phobia appear to represent distinct constructs, although the two constructs were clearly strongly related. However, diagnostic examination revealed that the prevalence of reported offensive symptoms (eight out of 94; 8.5%) was extremely low among participants with social phobia in Australia and none of them met the full criteria for TK offensive type. The mixed findings relevant to the existence of TK offensive type among an Australian sample with social phobia are discussed in relation to cultural influences on life interference, referral behaviors, and diagnostic customs.

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